Ten Arkansas Business Icons Have Stories to Tell


Ten Arkansas Business Icons Have Stories to Tell

I don’t know how else to say this: If you don’t enjoy this issue, you really don’t have any business reading Arkansas Business. We’ve had some fun issues in the past — I’m especially proud of our 25th anniversary issue from 2009, when we rounded up 25 scoundrels and 25 mysteries and 23 other lists. But we’ve never done an issue quite like this one, with so many interviews and so much insight into 10 of the most iconic businesspeople living in Arkansas today.

The lists we do routinely — largest banks, largest accounting firms, the list of the state’s oldest companies in issue — are ranked by some objective measure. But we also do more subjective lists, like the annual 40 Under 40 project in which we introduce our readers to 40 deserving young leaders in business and government. Deciding which individuals to feature as “business icons” was a similarly subjective exercise, and the staff started to think of these stories as a way to acquaint younger readers with the personalities behind some of the most familiar names in our state’s business community.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the printing press: Those of us who thought we knew Bob Shell, Johnny Allison, Walter Hussman and the rest discovered new facts and gained new understanding of what makes them tick. I’m pretty sure you will too.